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S. Korean shares open sharply lower tracking Wall Street

Stocks 09:24 December 03, 2019

SEOUL, Dec. 3 (Yonhap) -- South Korean stocks opened sharply lower on Tuesday, tracking overnight losses on Wall Street, amid Washington's plan to slap higher tariffs on steel imported from South America.

The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) lost 23.54 points, or 1.13 percent, to 2,068.38 in the first 15 minutes of trading.

The U.S. stock market lost ground overnight after President Donald Trump decided to impose higher tariffs on steel from Brazil and Argentina, rekindling woes over protectionism around the globe.

Uncertainties surrounding trade negotiations between Beijing and Washington also continued to weigh on investors' sentiment without a clear breakthrough in the offing. The two countries are the top trading partners of South Korea.

Most large caps were in negative terrain in Seoul.

Top tech giant Samsung Electronics fell 1.19 percent, and No. 2 chipmaker SK hynix slid 2.24 percent. LG Electronics lost 0.43 percent.

Chemical firms also opened lower, with LG Chem losing 0.97 percent and top oil refiner SK Innovation slipping 0.34 percent.

No. 1 online portal operator Naver plunged 1.75 percent, and leading mobile messenger operator Kakao shed 1.28 percent.

The local currency was trading at 1,185.70 won against the U.S. dollar, down 2.60 won from the previous session's close.

colin@yna.co.kr
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